When Corey Duncan died of cancer in February 2009, a week after his 14th birthday, his family were inspired to raise money to help other children with the diseases.
Tens of thousands of pounds have since been raised in the fight against cancer for Corey’s Smile, which was set up in his memory. All money raised by the charity – set up by parents Annette, 47 and Craig, 49, – goes to the North of England Children’s Cancer Research.
Now one of Corey’s young relatives is the latest person to be inspired – and is cutting her hair off to raise money for the charity. Thornaby youngster Lielah Bennett – whose mum was cousin to Corey – is losing her locks.
The seven-year-old came up with the idea herself after discussing with her older sister Lacey about why cancer patients lose their hair.
Lielah hopes to raise £500 and has already got over £100 through her JustGiving page, as well as some other sponsors.
The Harewood Primary school pupil’s hair will be cut to her shoulders and is being donated to the Little Princess Trust which provides wigs to boys and girls suffering from cancer.
Mum Sophie said: “There is no point in Lielah getting her hair cut off and it going to waste. She has really long hair as well!
“We told her about Corey and she wanted to do it.”
So far, over £40,000 has been raised for North of England Children’s Cancer Research by Corey’s Smile.
The teenager, who had a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer, inspired not only those closest to him but an entire community who continue to raise money in his memory.
The money funds research into various types of cancer and has also helped pay for handheld computers, special rooms and entertainment for poorly youngsters at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
It also helps research treatments which are less distressing for children.
Annette said she was amazed by Lielah’s gesture. “She is my niece’s little girl and she was explaining to her about Corey and children losing their hair and she just decided to do it,” she said.
“She said ‘I just want to be kind and help somebody’. It’s such a lovely thing to do.”
Lielah will be having her hair chopped on August 24 by Sophie’s cousin, Gemma Smith.
Sophie, 26, said: “We will wait until the JustGiving page has expired. We do not want to get it cut off for a little amount.
“We will get everyone round for it and make a big fuss out of Lielah.”
If you are interested in raising funds for North of England Children’s Cancer Research, you can find more information in the Get Involved section of our website.